An artist’s rendering shows what the expanded outdoor retail space at Willowbrook Shopping Centre might look like. Bentall Kennedy, the group that manages the mall, revealed this week plans to expand Langley’s largest shopping centre, including more retail space, restaurants and places for shoppers to hang out and relax.

Major expansion in works for Willowbrook Shopping Centre

Outdoor retail space will give expanded Langley shopping centre a Park Royal village feel, says Bentall Kennedy representative

Langley’s largest mall is set to receive a significant upgrade.

Willowbrook Shopping Centre has announced they plan to add a new 140,000 square-foot outdoor mall on the northwest side of the property, near Willowbrook Drive, along with interior and exterior renovations to complement existing stores.

The mall will have a new modern look, with “spirit of the West Coast architecture,” a 1,000-stall underground parking facility, and a focus on pedestrian comfort.

“It’s going to be a different kind of space. It’s going to be lifestyle oriented (and) pedestrian oriented type retail,” said Chrystal Burns, vice president of asset management for Bentall Kennedy, which manages the mall.

“We believe that people in Langley, both in Willowbrook and around, are actually leaving Langley to do the shopping they need to do at Guildford (in Surrey) or elsewhere, and we want to provide that shopping in the neighbourhood.”

Part of these upgrades includes the relocation of Sport Check and Toys ‘R’ Us stores to the old Target storefront, which has sat empty since the U.S. retail giant pulled out of Canada in 2015.

Those plans came to Township council on June 27 for public hearing, where they received praise from several councillors.

The expansion project in its entirety is still in its early pre-application stage, but should it be approved, the current storefronts for both Sport Check and Toys ‘R’ Us will be demolished to make way for the new outdoor facility.

Although they are still in the process of securing new tenants, Burns said the outdoor mall will likely include a grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, local retail and fashion stores, and will have “somewhat like a Park Royal village feel.”

“We’ve done surveys from our shoppers, and the retailers at the mall, and they’ve all said we need more retail, we want to see this type of retail, we want to see that, we would like a place to eat, we want a place to hang out and relax and be together,” Burns said.

“Because really, in Langley we’ve got strip centres and then we’ve got Willowbrook Shopping Centre, so we’re responding to what the community needs and that site is big and can accommodate more retail.”

A budget for the project has yet to be released, and pending approval, the earliest construction could begin is late 2017.  Phase one of Willowbrook Mall was built in 1979, with the last major renovation completed in 2007.

Currently, there are 6.9 million shoppers who visit the mall’s 150 stores each year, as well as 500,000 website visits, 45,000 digital followers and 68,000 daily drive-by traffic trips.

The mall’s largest tenants are Hudson’s Bay, Sport Chek, Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the expansion and renovations to Bentall Kennedy.

Fill out the feedback form online at shopwillowbrook.com and email it to wbinquiries@bentallkennedy.com by July 31.

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